August 13 2008

Olympia 2008: Sprint athlete Kim Gevaert visits SOS Children's Village in China

12/08/2008 - Twice European athletics champion Kim Gevaert, one of the stars of the Belgian Olympic team, visited SOS Children's Village Yantai in eastern China last Saturday (9 August) with her team mates. Kim Gevaert, whose career will reach its final climax at the Olympic Games in Beijing, has been an ambassador for SOS Children's Villages Belgium since 2007.

Photo: SOS Archives
Group picture in a family house in Yantai - Photo: SOS Archives

The fastest woman in Europe (current European champion for 100m and 200m) and her team mates are currently training in Yantai and will compete in the Olympic Games next week. The athletes were invited to two family houses at the SOS Children's Village nearby during their visit. They took the opportunity to talk to the children, who were thrilled to meet them.

Kim Gevaert talked to us about her impressions of life at SOS Children's Village Yantai: "I knew that there was an SOS Children's Village in Yantai and I'm delighted to have been there with the rest of the team. I've talked to them about the association a lot, but when you're there on the ground, you see just how professional the organisation is and how happy the children are! That has a lot more of an impact."

Photo: SOS Archives
Kim Gevaert visits Cape Town - Photo: SOS Archives

Kim Gevaert has been a very active ambassador for SOS Children's Villages Belgium since November 2007. She has been involved in fundraising campaigns and in January this year she saw with her own eyes the activities of SOS Children's Villages in Cape Town (South Africa). A campaign is also planned for her large farewell ceremony at the "Memorial Van Damme" meeting in Brussels in September and the proceeds will go to SOS Children's Villages.

Like Kim Gevaert, another SOS ambassador will use the Olympic Games in Beijing as an opportunity to visit an SOS Children's Village in China. Triathlete Dirk Bockel from Luxembourg will visit SOS Children's Village Tianjin on 21 August.

Kim Gevaert has been a successful international athlete for more than ten years. In addition to her two European titles from 2006, she has sprinted her way to three European indoor titles for 60m and various world and European medals. Her greatest Olympic achievement to date was when she came sixth in the 200m in Athens in 2004.

SOS Children's Village Yantai, which opened in 1987, provides a new home and family for up to 120 children in 15 family houses. The SOS Children's Village also has an SOS Youth Facility and an SOS Kindergarten. In addition, SOS Children's Villages also runs a secondary school in Yantai, which is considered to be one of the best schools in China, and an SOS Social Centre, which provides services for families in the area, such as child care and medical advice.

SOS Children's Villages has been active in China since 1984. Around 8,400 young people benefit from the organisation's facilities and programmes in China.